10 Reasons Your Small Business Should Be Using Social Media

Posted on Apr 30, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

social-media-networks

Even if you have a great product it can be a real challenge to get a new company off the ground. If people don’t know about your products they obviously can’t buy them.

Typically, new businesses will invest heavily in traditional advertising, cold calling, and email marketing. All of these are legitimate and should be pursued.

However, a robust social media component to your marketing efforts can make all the difference.

Social media is about generating buzz. The only thing worse than bad press is no press at all. If people are not talking about your brand they’re probably not buying it.

Here are 10 reasons your small business should be using social media:

1. More Traffic (a lot more) – The amount of traffic a successful viral marketing campaign can generate is simply staggering.

2. Reputation Management – Find out what people are saying about your brand and where.

3. Increases Search Rank – The more people share your content and talk about your brand it generates natural links back to your site. This increases your search engine rank which increases your traffic and the quality of it.

4. Branding – Creating a recognizable identity and a strong brand is key to success.

5. Buzz – Get people talking about your brand. This will increase the spread of your brand via word of mouth. People trust what their friends and family tell them.

6. Levels The Playing Field – Social media allows tiny companies and one man shops to get the same exposure as multi-billion dollar companies with massive advertising budgets. A single viral video has the potential to be seen by as many people as a million dollar Super Bowl ad.

7. Saves Money – Social media costs a fraction of what traditional advertising does.

8. Increases Trust – Companies with a strong presence on social networks are more accessible. Companies that are more accessible tend to be more trustworthy (or are perceived that way).

9. Makes You Better – When you engage with customers through social media you’ll know what they want, what’s wrong, what’s right, and how you can do better. Domino’s Pizza heard from customers via social networks about how terrible their pizza had become. They responded by throwing out all the old recipes and starting from scratch.

10. Increases Your Market – The web has made doing business all over the world as easy as doing business in your own neighborhood. A robust social media presence will expose your brand to potential customers all over the world.

How Social Media Can Be Used Against You

Posted on Apr 28, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Amanda Knox

American college student Amanda Knox was recently convicted of murder in Italy and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Knox allegedly murdered her roommate with the help of two accomplices. Most of what was used to convict Amanda in Italy would’ve never been allowed in an American court. I have no idea if she’s guilty or innocent, but suffice it to say the case is extremely controversial in the US and in Italy.

What I find most interesting and somewhat alarming about this case is the role that social media played in her conviction. While not the centerpiece of the case, Amanda’s social networking profiles were seen by prosecutors as strong evidence of her guilt.

Like many 20-year old college students, Amanda created a playful and somewhat sexy image of herself on Facebook and MySpace. She called herself “Foxy Knoxy” and frequently uploaded pictures of herself partying, acting silly, or posing in unusual ways. Her profiles were nothing out of the ordinary for someone her age and in fact would be considered quite typical. However, once accused of murder her profiles took on a whole new meaning.

Italian prosecutors used Amanda’s social networking profiles and her “Foxy Knoxy” persona to portray her as a slut and someone with loose morals quite capable of committing murder. Maybe they’re right, I don’t know. But it’s important to understand the implications of this. Maybe the person you portray on Facebook is really you, but if not you should think carefully about how you’re being perceived. When taken out of context seemingly innocent pictures or blog posts can become something else entirely.

The Italian media ran wild with the “Foxy Knoxy” meme and her Facebook pictures were on the cover of every newspaper and magazine in Italy and across Europe. It was later discovered that Amanda had written a short story several years earlier on MySpace about a man who drugs and rapes a girl. Once again, a short story like that doesn’t mean much until you’re accused of rape and murder.

Everything we write, say, post, or upload to the Internet will absolutely be there forever and could be used against us at anytime — even in a foreign country.

Foursquare Gets Down To Business

Posted on Apr 22, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

foursquare

I’ve been convinced over the last few months that location based services like Foursquare are going to be huge this year. Foursquare’s latest move may be the just the catalyst needed for this technology to catch fire.

Foursquare is now making itself much more business friendly by offering a suite of tools for business owners to use in conjunction with the service.

Now every unclaimed business venue has a link asking, “Are you the manager of this business?” The link takes managers to a page asking them for proof that they are indeed the manager so that Foursquare’s sales team can call them to set them up with tools for claiming their venue and managing offers. There is also a new Businesses page explaining the different tools available to local merchants.

Businesses who claim their venues on Foursquare get a dashboard with realtime stats on number of check-ins, times of day people check in, most recent visitors, and most frequent visitors. They can also manage the offers and badges people get when they check in. These include Mayor specials, specials for people who check in a certain number of times, or wildcard specials which can be customized. A special can be anything from a free drink to 20 percent off a purchase.

This is pretty exciting stuff. I can imagine this being very popular with businesses. The marketing potential of this technology is impossible to calculate at this point because it’s just too new. Mobile technology in all its forms is getting more popular by the second largely due to the iPhone. Local businesses need a way to cash-in on this technology and integrate their brands with it. Foursquare is undoubtedly the first of what will be many companies developing ways to do that.

Businesses should take advantage of this and give it a try. There’s no downside to registering your venue on Foursquare and creating a couple of promotions.

Video: Mark Zuckerberg Explains What Coming Facebook Changes Mean For Users

Posted on Apr 21, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that major changes are coming to Facebook. Mashable has the specifics, but what really matters to most people is how all this will affect them.

Here’s Zuck explaining what the coming changes will mean for users (don’t worry, it’s not a big deal)…

Did You Know We Do Awesome Video Marketing?

Posted on Apr 20, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

web video marketing

We try and stay humble here at Digital Street and refrain from tooting our own horn very much. Having said that, every once in a while it becomes necessary to boast just a little bit.

Our email marketing, search engine marketing, and social media marketing abilities are well known, but did you know that we also do mind blowing video marketing as well?

From simple YouTube videos to full blown television commercials, Digital Street can make it happen. Our in-house video production team is second to none. Schedule a free consultation with us today and we’ll help take your brand to the next level!

Here’s a little taste of what we can do:

Video: How To Use LinkedIn For Business

Posted on Apr 16, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

linkedin

It may not be as sexy as Facebook or get as much love from celebrities as Twitter, but LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social networks on the planet. When it comes to business networking LinkedIn is second to none.

Here’s an interview with Lewis Howes, author of the bestselling book LinkedWorking. Lewis talks about how businesses can benefit from using LinkedIn:

Lewis Howes Interview from Michael A. Stelzner on Vimeo.

* Don’t forget to check out our LinkedIn profile and then join our group!

New Facebook Pages: A Guide for Social Media Marketers

Posted on Apr 7, 2010 by ThriveAdmin | Posted in Social Media

As more and more marketers use Facebook as a key conduit for brands online, it is important to note some of the new changes to their Business Pages. Following last fall’s overall redesign, these pages will now migrate to the same Wall and tabs design that personal profiles have used. You can explore the new format and follow Mashable on Facebook at Mashable’s Facebook page.

Following is a rundown of what you need to know:

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What’s Changing

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In the redesign, Pages will change from a “box-oriented” design to a “Wall and tabs” design; they will closely mirror the current structure of Personal Profiles.

britney

1. The Mini-feed and Wall will be merged together into a “Wall” tab, which will become front and center of Pages.

2. The company information and other static content will live on an “Info” tab, and most photos will live on a “Photos” tab.

3. Most custom content and application boxes will live on “Boxes” tabs; Page admins will be able to add multiple Boxes tabs and will likely be able to give tabs custom names. Some custom content and applications can be added to the left column of the Wall tab like on Personal Profiles.

4. Pages will now be able to share Status Updates (short, frequently updated blurbs) in the same way that personal Facebook users do. These updates will be visible on the Wall tab.

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What’s Not Changing

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Although the structure and design will differ, Business Pages will maintain the same core functionality as before – the ability to share photos, videos, text, applications and custom content.

There has also been no mention of any costs associated with Business Pages (aside from optional advertising).

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Opportunities

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1. Stronger Interaction with Fans
Because the Wall tab will become the focus, Pages will feel much more active and dynamic than ever before. This will encourage more participation and interaction between brands and their Fans.

2. Increased Virality
Content posted on the new Wall will also show up in Fans’ News Feeds more often. This means that posting updates to your Page is much more viral and has the potential to drive significant traffic to your Page.

3. More Ways to Communicate
The Status Update will provide a powerful way for Pages to share short interesting blurbs with Fans in a way that is less obtrusive than an Update delivered to their inboxes. Brands that use Twitter can sync their accounts so that selected Tweets will automatically post to Facebook as Status Updates.

4. Specific Landing Page for Non-Fans
The Wall tab will be the point of entry for all Fans when they visit a Page (with the idea that they’ll first be exposed to the newest content). When it comes to non-fans, Page admins will be able to choose which tab they’d like to use as the landing page. This means that if a Page has a new application or custom content that they’d like to promote, they can set this as the point of entry for all new visitors to the Page.

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Challenges

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Overall, the new design will make Pages more dynamic and viral, but it will also pose some challenges too:

1. Content will need to be updated frequently and consistently to ensure the Wall tab (the new focus of Pages) stays fresh.

2. The addition of Status Updates will require brands to establish guidelines on what content can be posted here on a consistent basis.

3. Page admins will need to determine what content (text, links, photos and videos) Fans will be able to share on the Wall tab so permissions can be set accordingly.

4. Static brand content will become secondary to Fan-to-brand interaction, so there will be less content control for brands.

5. Placement of custom content and applications will need to be determined so that it remains visible and accessible for Fans.

6. Static brand content will now need to adhere to the standard template, so Pages may need to adjust the format of their About and Contact information to fit.

Business Schools Adding Social Media To Curriculum

Posted on Apr 2, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

The NY Times has an interesting piece today related to social media. The top business schools in the world are quickly adding social media to their MBA programs.

Students entering university studies today have grown up with access to computers and the Internet and have years of experience in using online social networks to make connections and share information. Now that businesses are realizing the commercial potential of these social media networks, the universities need to teach their students how to turn their knowledge of these new media channels to profitable use, Mr. Salcito said.

“Just as we saw with digital — with things like creating Web sites or Web-based business — there is a need for immediate transformation in the educational environment,” to keep pace with these fast-emerging developments in the business world, he said.

This is a great thing. Students who leave school well versed in social media are going to have a huge advantage when they enter the business world as compared to those who don’t.

Video: MIT Students Develop ‘Minority Report’ Style Wireless Mouse Gloves

Posted on Apr 2, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

This is pretty amazing. I can imagine something like this coming to market soon.

(hat tip Mashable)

Social Media Is Not An Exact Science

Posted on Mar 29, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Stressed+out

The brave new world of social media marketing has old school marketing firms struggling to adapt. Conventional wisdom has been turned on its head and the old rules and best practices for “what works” is now a constantly moving goal post. You can write out a detailed social media marketing plan for a company that sounds great on paper, but once it’s put into practice it may not be worth the paper it’s printed on. That kind of uncertainty scares the heck out of the old guard who likes a sure thing and whose clients demand nothing less.

Social Media is not something that lends itself to a one size fits all approach. What works great with one company may have no effect whatsoever with a different brand or company. Every brand or product has an audience that’s waiting to be engaged and the trick is to find out how and where they prefer the engagement to take place. Some brands work better on Facebook than on Twitter. Some find great success with both — or neither.

What business owners and marketing firms need to realize is that social media is dynamic and constantly changing. A good social media marketing campaign must be monitored continuously and tweaked when necessary. When you try something and it doesn’t work out you need to immediately pivot and try a different approach.

Be wary of any firm that guarantees outcomes using a particular method. Unless they have an uncanny ability to see into the future, they couldn’t possibly guarantee that. We can guarantee you results, but we cannot guarantee what will ultimately get those results.

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